Not IT or banking, but pharma leads the demand for employees' return to offices

Not IT or banking, but pharma leads the demand for employees' return to offices
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  • Over 50% of the companies in tech and retail sectors are open to hybrid working models.
  • Interestingly, it’s the smaller sized companies who want their workforce to be back at their desks.
  • Around 35%-40% of the organisations are embracing the idea of hybrid working, says a survey by Awfis.
It’s not just tech companies that are ending the work-from-home phenomenon. As per a new report by Awfis, a coworking space network company, the sector that’s most strict when it comes to working out of the office is the pharmaceutical sector.

In a survey by Awfis and Qdesq, 90% of pharma companies surveyed said that they prefer work from the office, with only 10% of them open to hybrid working models.

The sectors that are most open to hybrid working models are banking and financial services, engineering and manufacturing – at 70% of them said in the survey. Next comes retail and tech sectors where 50% of those surveyed preferred hybrid working models.

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The work location preference also varies with size of the company. More than 70% of the smaller firms are in favour of working from the office, while 15% of large firms are on board with hybrid working models.

Overall, across sectors and sizes, about 35-40% of companies prefer the idea of hybrid working. Around 45% of corporations are looking for new office spaces including conventional and flex, while 35% of them already instituted a multi-office approach through collaboration with coworking spaces, said Indian Flex Occupier’s Survey 2022.


A large chunk of the workforce went back to their hometowns during Covid-19 lockdown and the companies across all sectors had no choice but to pivot to a hybrid work model.

The situation has since changed again and organizations are progressively collaborating with flex space operators to ensure the seamless execution of the hybrid work model despite office development in numerous places.

“As firms continue to evolve with the changing market dynamics, the workforce expectations, too, have changed with new working models like hybrid, work-from-home, and working from office coming to the fore,” said Paras Arora, founder and CEO, Qdesq.

Flex workspaces core to workplace strategy

Sectors like banking, insurance and technology, where employees have already started going to the office again, are expected to lead the demand for office spaces in 2023, the report revealed.

Majority of the respondents are looking to collaborate with coworking space players to implement a strategy for a distributed workforce, while 30% of respondents are searching for more affordable alternatives to rental offices to have more financial flexibility, the report said.

“The years 2020 and 2021 played a defining role in causing a paradigm shift in Indian occupiers' demands and making Flex workspaces core to their overall workplace strategy. The return of the workforce to offices is now certain and so is the resolute need for flexibility at work which paves a clear path for accelerated growth and expansion of India's flex space market in the coming years,” said Amit Ramani, founder and CEO, Awfis.

Top seven cities — Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune, NCR, Kolkata and Chennai — account for 20% of the total demand for coworking space in the country, Anarock report said.

“Organizations are implementing a set of new workplace strategies in a post-pandemic world, which have been greatly influenced by the circumstances faced during the pandemic,” the Awfis report said.

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